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Against Accountability: Oppression and Oversight in Los Angeles

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This thesis considers Los Angeles in theory and in history, examining key social institutions like the university and the police for the work of “the prevailing oppression,” what Angela Davis opposed while she was an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1969, surveilled, harassed, and fired for her politics. I trace the influence on law and racial order of the under-examined nexus of collaborations and contestations between university students and staff and police in this city. Contradictions cluster here around the ideal and practice of “accountability,” a widely prominent regime of knowledge and power in recent decades, the preconditions and effects of which have often been taken for granted or left ignored. Drawing together insights of abolitionist movements and semiotic anthropology, I demonstrate how prevailing institutions in Los Angeles have resisted and incorporated popular pursuits of “accountability” in equal measure.

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This item is under embargo until June 13, 2024.